“Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” - Sufi saying
Satya invites us to walk the slippery slope between cold, hard facts and a softer, gentler version of the truth, but it is always asking us not to lie.
Instead it is asking us to live with integrity. Is what we are saying, and how we are saying it, in alignment with our higher consciousness?
In his translation of this Yama, Swami Satchidananda says, “With establishment in honesty, the state of fearlessness comes. One need not be afraid of anybody and can always lead an open life. When there are no lies, the entire life becomes an open book."
In addition to intergrity, this is about authenticity, and ultimately about liberation. Just be who you are. If we live in truth, our entire being - body, mind, heart and spirit, will function with one voice. Our doing, thinking, feeling and being become integrated.
There is great freedom in this.
But how, after so many years of programming to be nice, do we suddenly become 100% truthful?
Practicing Satya does not mean being honest without consideration. One would not, as the title suggests, tell a new mother or father that their child was anything less than magically beautiful. There is always something nice to say that is true. There is always a compassionate way to tell the truth.
If we turn this yama on ourselves and investigate not only what we’re saying and its validity, but also what we are thinking and how we are acting, we can more deeply dissect the nature of Satya.
How much truth in your life is actually opinion? How much of what you tell yourself about yourself is actually true? Or is it some long-held belief with unknown origins? We judge others and ourselves through the lens of our own past experiences and perceptions. What is true for you may not be true for others. A fact is merely a statement the majority of people have agreed upon.
The new parents see a beautiful baby. You may see a creature from another planet. They are seeing through the eyes of unconditional love and compassion. Their baby IS beautiful. You believe you are seeing through the eyes of objectivity, therefore, the truth. Which is true?
Both. But is it necessary and kind to disagree with them?
When we assert our truthfulness on another we are simply seeking validation that we are right. Instead, in allowing for the truths, even opinions of others, we begin to co-create an environment of equanimity and space for growth.
When met with the decision to speak your truth or hold your tongue, consider the following Sanskrit saying: “Satyam bruyat priyam bruyat.” “Speak what is true, speak what is pleasant.”
Knowing your own truth, living in integrity with your higher self, will begin to set you free to live a beautifully authentic life.